Paul Pierce told the world at the beginning of the season that this would be his last. At the time it was hard to imagine the NBA without Paul. Now the time has come, and this hurts. For 19 years “The Truth” would be lighting teams up with his big shots and his ridiculous three-pointers. Paul was a one of a kind player. There will never be another like him. There will only be one Truth.
Paul is best known for his time in Boston, which I’ll get to, but he was way more than just a Boston legend. He was a 10x All-Star, 4x All-NBA player, All-Rookie First Team player, a 3PT champion, an NBA champion, and a Finals MVP winner. He’s 15th on the all-time scoring list with over 26,000 points. He’s 19th on the all-time steals list. He’s 4th on the all-time three-pointers made list.
Paul Pierce was the definition of what it meant to be a Boston Celtic. He laid it out every night and stuck through it through thick and thin. He was there for Boston when they were one of the worst teams in the league, and he was there when they were on top of the world. He never gave up on Boston and Boston never gave up on him. He’s third in minutes and games played, third in field goals made, seventh in rebounds, fifth in assists, first in steals, and second in all-time points in Celtics’ history. He did everything when he was in Celtic green. It upsets me that he couldn’t end his playing career in Boston, but sometimes you can’t control how it all ends.
His last game in Boston was one of the most goosebump-giving, spine-tingling games I’ve ever watched. I was at the Garden for when it was KG’s last game in Boston, but this one was much different. The whole game the fans were chanting for Paul. Although he was in an opposing jersey, everybody wanted him to score whenever he touched the ball. The fans wanted him to light it up one more time in Boston. Scoreless with 20 seconds to go, Paul checks in for the final time against the Celtics and bangs a three. His first and only points of the game, he blew the roof off the place when he hit it. It was perfect. It was the most perfect way to sign off in Boston for the final time. “PAUL PIERCE FOR THREEEEEE” was screamed through the arena for the last time and it felt so good. We’ve heard it so many times before but this was one of the best ever, and he was playing against us.
Paul Pierce was as tough as nails and was a classic old school type of player. He didn’t take any crap and put up a fight each and every game. On September 25, 2000, Paul Pierce was stabbed 11 times in the face, neck, and back at a club in Boston. He had to be taken to a hospital and had to have lung surgery to repair the damage that had been done. Paul Pierce didn’t miss a single game that year and was the only Celtic to play all 82 games. That story is one of the most inspiring stories you can hear as a basketball fan or any sports fan in general.
When I started watching basketball, it was in the beginning stages of the “Big Three Era” in Boston with KG, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. Paul Pierce is the reason I started to watch basketball and the reason why I got into it. He was the man growing up and was a player I always looked up to and wanted to be like. His three point shots inspired me to become a three point specialist back in my basketball days (still deadly FYI), and I tried my hardest to model my game after him. Doc Rivers said in an interview once that Paul is so unique because his shot is different every time he shoots. He doesn’t have a single jump shot, he has many variations of a jump shot. That allowed me to believe in myself as a shooter and not be afraid to shoot a different jump shot every time and experiment with my game. I wasn’t the best basketball player in the world, but I know I wasn’t the only little kid out there that was inspired by Paul. When you have a player that is changing the game and inspires young kids to want to be like him, you know he’s a one of a kind player.
That’s what makes this whole situation so hard. Paul was a one of a kind player, and we will never see another like him. He was a guy I grew up watching and wanted to be like. He was a guy I supported every game he played in a Boston uniform. He was also a guy I supported on every team he played for after he was traded from Boston.
When he was traded to Brooklyn, I knew it was for all the right reasons. We needed to start a rebuild, and it had to start with getting rid of The Truth. At the time it sucked but look where we are now. It took a while for me as a fan to get through the fact that Paul Pierce was no longer a Boston Celtic, but when I did I prayed that he would come back and play out his last years in green. That never happened and I couldn’t be more upset about it, but he ended on his own terms, and you have no choice but to respect it. Paul will retire as a Boston Celtic this summer when he signs a one-day contract in the offseason.
Paul, if you ever read this, I just want you to know that I thank you. I thank you for the countless memories you left us and myself, and for being the player you were; inspiring, hardworking, incredible, a Celtic. The little boy who looked up to you and wished to be like you, who is now an 18-year-old college student with teary eyes, thanks you for giving me a kickass childhood when it came to watching basketball. Boston is the city of champions, and you’re one of the biggest reasons for it.
There will only be one Truth. There will be only one Paul Pierce. Paul, I thank you. Every basketball fan across the globe thanks you. Boston thanks you. We love you from the bottom of our hearts and know you will always bleed green. I bleed green because of you, and I can’t wait to pass down your legacy when my children bleed green one day.